Friday Links: Post-Holiday Monday Edition
I love my children, but this morning I’m really loving their return to school. Freelance projects have piled up, my email inbox has been terribly neglected, and near non-blogging means I’ve got a backlog of research and news links.
Enjoy today’s Monday edition and this blog’s return to a regular posting schedule. Hopefully, the beginning of 2009 finds you happy, healthy, and able to catch up on your life as well.
Some Severe Asthmatics Benefit from Antifungal
Patients with severe asthma–notoriously difficult to treat and control–and a fungal allergy may see some improvement in symptoms with the addition of an oral antifungal drug. In this study, 62 percent of people with both experienced fewer symptoms when taking itraconazole twice a day. Lead investigator David Denning calls the data “dramatic,” but some patients did drop out of the study because of the side effects.
Western PA Asthma Kids Have 400% Higher Rates of ER Visits than National Average
Dr. Fernando Holguin, just tapped to head up Pittsburgh’s new Pediatric Environmental Medicine Center, is going to figure out why. (As this article notes, though, the American Lung Association ranked Pittsburgh as the U.S. city with the most soot pollution in 2008.)
Bad Air Days in Phoenix = 14% Asthma Symptom Increase in Kids
We all know air pollution is bad for asthma, but this Arizona State University research is newsworthy for two reasons:
[It] is thought to be the first in the state to quantify a tie between poor air quality and children’s health.
It also reveals that children are affected by coarse pollutants at levels below the federal government’s health standard.
Antacids During Pregnancy May Up Asthma Risk
As always, be aware of the possible link if you’re planning to get pregnant sometime in the future, but in the meantime file it under “Don’t Blame the Moms for the Kids’ Asthma.”
Here’s Why the 1918 Flu Hit So Hard
Japanese researchers uncovered three genes that basically get the flu virus to start reproducing inside the lungs, leading to deadly pneumonia. The good news? Identifying these genes could lead to better flu treatments, a big deal since flu and health experts say another pandemic is pretty much inevitable sometime in the future.